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General Hook & Line Regulations

Fishing Regulations Michigan Freshwater Fishing

This table provides general statewide regulations for the species listed. However, there are many waters in the state that have fishing regulations which differ from those in this table. For instance, it is unlawful to possess fishing gear or fish for suckers on designated trout waters during the closed fishing season. Please refer to the Michigan-Wisconsin Boundary Water Regulations, Sylvania Wilderness Area (see Michigan-Indiana Border Lakes), Exceptions to General Regulations by County, and Inland Trout & Salmon Regulations for exceptions.

Table 1: General Hook & Line Regulations

Species
(Note 1)

Minimum Size (inches)

Daily Possession Limit

Possession Seasons

Largemouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass

(Note 2)

14″

5

3rd. Sat. in Jun. – Dec. 31: L. St. Clair, St. Clair R., Detroit R. (See Note 2)

Sat. before Memorial Day – Dec. 31: All other waters including Great Lakes (except those listed in Note 2) (See Note 2)

Walleye

(Note 3)

15″

5

May 15 – Mar. 15: Upper Peninsula Great Lakes and inland waters, and St. Marys R.

Last Sat. in Apr. – Mar. 15: Lower Peninsula inland waters

Open All Year: Lower Peninsula Great Lakes, L. St. Clair, St. Clair R. and Detroit R.

Northern Pike
(Note 7)

24″

2

Flathead Catfish

15″

5

Open All Year

Channel Catfish

12″

10

Muskellunge
(including Tiger Muskellunge)
(See Note 7)

42″

Only 1 per angler per angling year (Apr. 1 – Mar. 31)

May 15 – Mar. 15: Upper Peninsula Great Lakes and inland waters, and St. Marys R.

Last Sat. in Apr. – Mar. 15: Lower Peninsula inland waters

Open All Year: Lower Peninsula Great Lakes

1st Sat. in Jun. – Dec. 15: L. St. Clair, St. Clair R. and Detroit R.

Yellow Perch
(Note 4)

No size limit

50

Open All Year

Sunfishes
(Note 5)

25 in any

combination of the

listed species

White Bass

25 on Gr. Lakes,

L. St. Clair, St.

Marys R., St. Clair

R., and Detroit R.

10 on inland waters

Lake Whitefish
Cisco
(Lake Herring)

12 in any

combination

Lake sturgeon

Please see Table 2, Lake Sturgeon Regulations

Smelt

No size limit

2 gallons

Open All Year
(See Table 5, General Netting Regulations)

All others
(Note 6)

No size limit

No possession

limit

Open All Year

Notes for Table 1

Note 1 – All Warmwater Fish:

Warmwater fish include all species listed in this table. Regulations for trout and salmon on inland waters are provided on Inland Trout & Salmon Regulations.

Note 2 – Largemouth & Smallmouth Bass:

All bass fishing tournaments held in 2016 and thereafter shall be registered online using the Department’s Michigan Fishing Tournament Information System at the following website: www.mcgi.state.mi.us/fishingtournaments/. For more information see General Bulletins.

Catch-and-Immediate-Release (CIR) seasons: CIR fishing for bass is allowed all year on all waters, unless otherwise closed to fishing. All bass caught must be immediately (see Common Terms) returned to the water.

On L. Michigan, within one-half mile of the following islands of the Beaver Island Archipelago: Beaver, Garden, High and Hog, (CHARLEVOIX) the possession season is Jul. 1 – Dec. 31 and open to bass CIR all year.

Note 3 – Walleye:

  • Lake Huron waters of MH-4 (see Common Terms) including Saginaw Bay and Saginaw R. upstream to Center St. (Douglas G. Schenk) Bridge: The daily possession limit for walleye is 8 with a 13″ minimum size limit. Any changes will be announced on the DNR website (michigan.gov/fishing) and in a pre-recorded message at 888-367-7060.
  • Lake Erie: The daily possession limit will remain at 6 walleye through Apr. 30 of the given year. The daily possession limit for walleye will be set on May 1 each year. The daily possession limit will be announced on the DNR website (michigan.gov/fishing) and in a pre-recorded message at 888-367-7060.
  • L. St. Clair and St. Clair R.: On these waters the daily possession limit for walleye is 6 and the minimum size limit is 13″.
  • Little Bay de Noc (DELTA): No more than 1 walleye over 23″ may be possessed in daily limit north of a line drawn from Peninsula Point Lighthouse to the mouth of the Bark R.
  • Michigan waters of Green Bay: from the mouth of the Menominee R. northward to latitude/longitude (45.5505, -87.2637) located approximately 6 miles north of the Cedar R. from Mar. 2 – Fri. before 1st Sat. in May the daily possession limit is 1 walleye and from the 1st Sat. in May – Mar. 1 the daily possession limit is 5 walleye.
  • L. Gogebic (GOGEBIC and ONTONAGON): Anglers may possess up to 2 walleye between 13″ – 15″ as part of the daily possession limit of 5 walleye.
  • Mullett L. proper, Cheboygan R. from Mullett L. downstream to Cheboygan Dam (T38N, R1W, S31), and Black R. from Alverno Dam (T37N, R1W, S35) downstream to its confluence with the Cheboygan R. (CHEBOYGAN): The daily possession limit for walleye is 3 and the season for harvest of walleye is May 15 – Mar. 15, inclusive.
  • Ontonagon R. (ONTONAGON): No more than 1 walleye over 25″ may be possessed in daily possession limit.

Note 4 – Yellow Perch:

  • L. Huron waters of MACKINAC and CHIPPEWA and the St. Marys R., the minimum size limit is 7″.
  • L. Michigan south of the 45th parallel (excluding the Grand Traverse Bays) the possession limit is 35 perch.
  • L. Gogebic (GOGEBIC and ONTONAGON): The daily possession limit for yellow perch is 25 with no more than 5 yellow perch 12″ or greater.
  • Lake Huron waters of MH-4 (see Common Terms) including Saginaw Bay and Saginaw R. upstream to Center St. (Douglas G. Schenk) Bridge: The daily possession limit for yellow perch is 25. Any changes will be announced on the DNR website (michigan.gov/fishing) and in a pre-recorded message at 888-367-7060.

Note 5 – Sunfishes:

Includes: black and white crappies, bluegill, green and hybrid sunfish, longear, pumpkinseed, redear, rock bass, and warmouth.

Note 6 – Other Species:

Those species not listed above and not considered trout or salmon or threatened and endangered species which are protected from harvest.

Note 7 – Muskellunge & Northern Pike:

Muskellunge Harvest Tag Requirement

A non-transferable Muskellunge Harvest Tag is required in order to harvest muskellunge (including tiger muskellunge) in Michigan waters. For more information see Common Terms.

Waters with higher minimum size limits on Muskellunge: BARRY: Gun L. 46”, Thornapple L. (from McKeown Rd. to Barger Rd.) 50”. OTSEGO: Big Bear L. 50”.

Waters with lower minimum size limits on muskellunge: LUCE: Tahquamenon R. and tributaries (upstream from Upper Falls) 38″.

Lakes with Muskellunge & Northern Pike possession seasons from the last Sat. in Apr. – Nov. 30: BARRY: Thornapple L. (from McKeown Rd. to Barger Rd.) LENAWEE: L. Hudson OTSEGO: Big Bear L.

Lakes with 24” – 34” protected slot limit on northern pike and daily possession limit of 2 northern pike: ALLEGAN: Pine Cr. Flooding KALAMAZOO: Long L. (T3S, R10W, S17/18/19/30) KENT: Bass L. (T10N, R9W, S12/13/14) LUCE: Blind Sucker Flooding and Bodi L. MONTCALM: Townline and Sand L.

Waters where up to 5 northern pike of any size may be taken with only 1 greater than 24” allowed in the daily possession limit: Alcona: Badger L. Alger: Nawakwa, Trout and 16 Mile Lks. Antrim: Beals, Benway, Ellsworth, Hanley, Scotts, Six Mile, St. Clair, and Wilson Lks. Baraga: Vermillac (Worm) L. Benzie: Long L. Charlevoix: Deer, Fox, Geneserath, Six Mile, and St. Clair and Susan Lks. Cheboygan: Black R. (upstream of Tower Dam includes Tower Pond and tributaries), Paradise (Carp), Silver and Wildwood Lks. Chippewa: Frenchman and Trout (Carp) Lks. Clare: Eight Point L. and L. Thirteen Crawford: Big Creek Imp., River and Pickerel Lks. Delta: Carr, Chicago, Hamilton, and Lyman Lks. and Escanaba R. (upstream from first dam at US- 2) Dickinson: Sawyer L. Emmet: French Farm and O’Neal L. Floodings, and Paradise (Carp) L. Gladwin: L. Lancer Gogebic: African (Big and Little), Chaney, Cisco, Clearwater, East Bay, Fishhawk, Indian, Lindsley, Morley, Poor, Record, and Thousand Island Lks. Grand Traverse: Boardman L. and L. Dubonnet. Houghton: Rice L. Iron: Bone, Buck, Indian, Runkle and Winslow Lks., Hemlock Falls and Michigamme Reservoir, Michigamme Falls and Peavy Reservoir, L. St. Kathryn, Deer R., Net R., and Net R. Wide Waters. Keweenaw: Schlatter L. Leelanau: Florence L. (S. Manitou Is.). Luce: East and Muskallonge Lks. Mackinac: East, Millecoquins, and South Manistique Lks. Manistee: Bar and Chief Lks. Marquette: Bass (East), Cedar, Engman, Shag (Big), and Witch Lks., Dead R. Storage Basin, Middle Br. Escanaba R., Big West Br. Escanaba R. mainstream downstream to Boney Falls Basin (except Greenwood, Schweitzer and Cataract Reservoirs) Mason: Hackert (Crystal) L. Mecosta: Haymarsh and Horsehead Lks. Menominee: Westman Imp. Missaukee: Missaukee L. Montcalm: Crystal L. Montmorency: Robarge L., East and West Town Corner, and Pug Lks., Black R. and tributaries Muskegon: Big Blue L. Newaygo: Diamond, Emerald, Kimball, Nichols, Pickerel, Ryerson (Long) and Sylvan Lks. Oceana: Round (Wykoff) and Silver Lks. Ogemaw: East Twin Lake, L. Ogemaw Osceola: L. Miramichi, Diamond, Rose and Wells Lks. Oscoda: Pickerel L. Otsego: Black R. and tributaries Presque Isle: Francis and Orchard Lks., Ocqueoc R. and tributaries, Ocqueoc Watershed Lakes (Ann, Bullhead, Ella, Emma, Ferdelman, Gorman, Horseshoe, Lost, Louise, Lower and Upper Barnhart, May, McIntosh, Moore, Mud and Nettie, and Ocqueoc), Black R. and tributaries and Tomahawk Flooding Roscommon: L. St. Helen, Cut R. (from the river mouth at Houghton L. upstream to CO 100 just downstream of Higgins L.), Houghton L., Backus Cr. from the stream mouth upstream, including all tributaries, Little Mud L. Flooding, Backus Cr. Flooding, and Backus L. Flooding Schoolcraft: Boot, Crooked, Kennedy, Stanley and Thunder Lks.; Seney National Wildlife Refuge Pools: contact Refuge office (906-586-9851).

Waters where up to 5 northern pike 24″ or greater allowed in the daily possession limit: Lake St. Clair, St. Clair R., and Detroit R.

Waters without possession limits or size limits on northern pike: BRANCH: Lake Lavine.